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Ferrosilicon market grinds to a halt

Keywords: Tags  silicomanganese, ferrosilicon, Nucor, tender, request for quote, ferromanganese, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — The ferrosilicon market is slowly grinding to a halt as market participants continue to await the outcome of a Nucor Corp. tender.

AMM’s spot prices eased slightly June 6 to a range of 91 to 93 cents per pound from 92 to 94 cents previously, with the few reported transactions taking place at lower levels and lower volumes.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor was recently reported to have submitted a "request for quote" for ferrosilicon and silicomanganese.

One trader maintained that the steel producer is holding ferrosilicon offers slightly below current published prices (, May 31).

"It’s been almost two weeks. I don’t know what they’re doing," a second trader said. "We put some numbers in on ferrosilicon, and they haven’t given us anything; we put our numbers in on silicomanganese, and they haven’t given us anything."

Nucor is reportedly seeking up to 3,300 tons of silicomanganese in the third quarter for its plants in Darlington, S.C., and Marion, Ohio (, May 24).

The majority of traders contacted by AMM this past week said the company had yet to determine which quotes it would accept, although a third trader said he heard the Darlington mill had awarded its tender while the Marion tender was still under discussion.

Nucor couldn’t be reached for comment.

All other ferroalloys were unchanged, with high-carbon ferrochrome steady in a range of 99 cents to $1.02 per pound and ferrovanadium steady in a range of $13 to $13.50 per pound.

There were also reports of a tender for 1,500 tons of high-carbon ferromanganese from Delta, Ohio-based North Star BlueScope Steel LLC, although sources at the company couldn’t be reached to confirm the business.

"That should be a good indicator for how the third quarter will shake out," the third trader said.

Overall, market participants reported ongoing slow trading activity as long-term contracts cover the majority of consumer requirements.

"I haven’t bought a thing. I’ve got everything I need on my agreements and I haven’t needed to go into the spot market," one consumer said.

"Nobody is in the market for anything larger than truckloads these days," a fourth trader said.

"Ninety percent of our business is booked for the year under contract, so there’s very little for us to go chase after," the third trader said. "Unless steel production picks up a lot in the second half of this year, there’ll be no reason for the mills to come out. But steel production is at a respectable level, so it’s not a disaster in terms of volume."

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